Tribrid Micro-Car — The Brazilian OBVIO ! Import By ZAP


Small car importer-converter ZAP will showcase a new "trybrid" sports car concept from Brazil at the New York International Auto Show, April 14-23 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. ZAP says its "trybrid" designs run on three sources of energy: gasoline, ethanol, and electricity; and the gasoline/alchohol proportions may be varied at the user's convenience. According to the press release, the OBVIO ! 828, will have an integrated chassis and safety cage using composite materials, a three-passenger bench seat, a computer with Windows compatible platform, GPS navigation, and a continuously variable transmission. ZAP is also exhibiting an all-electric city-car called the XEBRA planned for production and distribution this year. We certainly hope that whoever came up with the Carnival motif paint job will get some US marketing advice before it's too late. The derisive remarks would be hard to overlook with mileage in the advertised 29-city/40-hwy mpg range and a price in the anticipated 14K bracket.

Case in point: this writer had a 1960 Austin Healy Bugeye Sprite like this one, which came in a green pastel (that was painted over in short order with a dark BRG). It got about 44 mpg on average. The body and undercarriage was stamped like an aluminum bathtub and light enough for three or four strong lads to pick it up. Although the ancient bugeye sat only two, and had no computer, an updated version would kick OBVIO's butt in the speed and looks department.

This is a design space where more entries are definitely needed.